The Electric Vehicle: Technology and Expectations in the Automobile Age

Overview

"In Electric Vehicle, Gijs Mom challenges this view, arguing that at the beginning of the automobile age neither the internal combustion engine nor the battery-powered vehicle enjoyed a clear advantage. He explores the technology and marketing/consumer-feedback relationship over four "generations" of electric-vehicle design, with separate chapters on privately owned passenger cars and commercial vehicles. He makes abundant comparisons among European countries and between Europe and America." The Electric Vehicle offers a long-overdue reassessment ...
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The Electric Vehicle: Technology and Expectations in the Automobile Age

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Overview

"In Electric Vehicle, Gijs Mom challenges this view, arguing that at the beginning of the automobile age neither the internal combustion engine nor the battery-powered vehicle enjoyed a clear advantage. He explores the technology and marketing/consumer-feedback relationship over four "generations" of electric-vehicle design, with separate chapters on privately owned passenger cars and commercial vehicles. He makes abundant comparisons among European countries and between Europe and America." The Electric Vehicle offers a long-overdue reassessment of the place of this technology in the history of street transportation.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Those interested in the history of automotive technology should read—and will enjoy—this book.

Choice

Those interested in the history of automotive technology should read—and will enjoy—this book.

Enterprise and Society
Mom has mined the archives of several countries, uncovering manuscript and published sources in four languages, to produce a model comparative history. His main focus is the United States and Germany, but he follows electric vehicles to Britain, France, and the Netherlands, with side trips to other European countries. The result is a stunning compilation of examples and figures, ranging from Chicago to Berlin and from race cars to milk trucks.

— Zachary M. Schrag

Michigan Historical Review

Mom provides a clear argument that demands consideration from historians of technology as well as policymakers.

EH.Net
An impressive empirical study.

— Staffan Hulten

Up
This book is more than just a single case study where present-day technology was around 100 years ago. This book reveals how History is full of possibilities. The challenge is not to learn the lessen too late.

— Sandro Mendonca

Technology and Culture
An impressive work that couples theoretical sophistication with extensive use of American, Dutch, English, French, and German sources... Surely deserves a place on the bookshelf of automotive historians and anyone interested in why we get the technologies that we do.

— Rudi Volti

Business History Review
A stunning triumph of creative and sophisticated scholarship... Mom's prescription—that technological change be studied holistically—is a potent antidote to the poisonous extremes of technological, economic, and sociocultural determinism.

— Michael Brian Schiffer

American Historical Review
The research is exhaustive... He shows how competition between the electric and the gasoline car involved much more than the vehicles themselves, and he helps us understand the electric vehicle as the center of an alternative system. This has future implications... The electric car's 'failure' was not technical but cultural.

— David E. Nye

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
An interesting study of road based transportation in the early years, with a good deal of insight into the electric car market through most of the century.

— David K. Nergaard

Technology and Culture - Rudi Volti

An impressive work that couples theoretical sophistication with extensive use of American, Dutch, English, French, and German sources... Surely deserves a place on the bookshelf of automotive historians and anyone interested in why we get the technologies that we do.

Enterprise and Society - Zachary M. Schrag

Mom has mined the archives of several countries, uncovering manuscript and published sources in four languages, to produce a model comparative history. His main focus is the United States and Germany, but he follows electric vehicles to Britain, France, and the Netherlands, with side trips to other European countries. The result is a stunning compilation of examples and figures, ranging from Chicago to Berlin and from race cars to milk trucks.

Business History Review - Michael Brian Schiffer

A stunning triumph of creative and sophisticated scholarship... Mom's prescription—that technological change be studied holistically—is a potent antidote to the poisonous extremes of technological, economic, and sociocultural determinism.

EH.Net - Staffan Hulten

An impressive empirical study.

American Historical Review - David E. Nye

The research is exhaustive... He shows how competition between the electric and the gasoline car involved much more than the vehicles themselves, and he helps us understand the electric vehicle as the center of an alternative system. This has future implications... The electric car's 'failure' was not technical but cultural.

Up - Sandro Mendonca

This book is more than just a single case study where present-day technology was around 100 years ago. This book reveals how History is full of possibilities. The challenge is not to learn the lessen too late.

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - David K. Nergaard

An interesting study of road based transportation in the early years, with a good deal of insight into the electric car market through most of the century.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801871382
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gijs Mom is an associate professor in the history of technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue: Substituting for the Horse, Choosing Propulsion 1
The First Generation (1881-1902)
1 Separate Spheres: Culture and Technology of the Early Car 17
2 Failed Experiments: The First-Generation Electric Taxicab 64
The Second Generation (1902-1925)
3 Horse Power: The City Car, the Touring Car, and the Crisis of 1907 101
4 The Trojan Horse: The Competition for the Taxicab Market 131
5 The Electrified Horse: The Commercial Vehicle in Europe 174
The Third Generation and Beyond
6 The Serious Side of Mobility: The Electric Truck in the United States 205
7 Off the Road and Back: Utilitarian Niches or New Universalism? 250
Epilogue: Alternative Technologies and the History of Tomorrow's Car 275
A Note on Method 303
Abbreviations 313
Notes 315
Bibliography and Resources 371
Index 413
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